In 2019, Gospel for Asia is celebrating 40 years in business. This comes the same year GFA settled a fraud lawsuit (Murphy v. GFA) for $37-million. The settlement was just finalized with about 26,000 claimants seeking just over $109-million. Not everybody will get what they donated but this shows that donors weren’t happy.
On their Patheos blog, an unnamed staff member wrote a glowing vanity piece about GFA founder K.P. Yohannan. I would like readers to compare that piece with an email from David Carroll to Yohannan from 2015. This email came to light during discovery in Murphy v. GFA. At issue in the case was the use of donor funds. Plaintiffs Garland and Phyllis Murphy contended that GFA didn’t use all donor funds as donors intended. As a part of fund raising, GFA made representations that the funds were all going to mission work and were urgently needed. The discovery process pulled back the curtain on GFA’s claims and found that the reality wasn’t always what they claimed.
The narcissism in this article is obvious. The blog is GFA’s and the person writing it is an anonymous GFA staffer and yet readers are expected to take the following statements at face value:
They, and others like them, can look back and stand in awe of how an Almighty God has blessed their ministries abundantly and beyond imagination.
I know a man exactly like that. His name is Dr. K.P. Yohannan. He is one of the humblest and most dedicated men I have ever known. Forty years ago, he responded to God’s call to minister to the millions of people in Asia. Little did he know that in 2019 he would be able to look back at the remarkable things the Lord did over the past 40 years.
By any objective assessment, GFA has not had such a good record since 2014. The organization has been embroiled in scandal, membership in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability was removed, they lost other symbols of financial integrity, they lost their registration as a charity in India, at least one of their schools in India closed due to financial problems, and they have to pay a $37-million settlement to donors. Yes, K.P. is a remarkable CEO.
Leaving aside the fact that GFA hasn’t had a great record of late, the picture presented is that GFA is taking all of that money using it to help the poor and needy. Since all of this is done for the Lord, surely there wouldn’t be any deception or double talk.
Now let’s pull back the curtain a bit.
In the fraud lawsuit, an email from Chief Operating Officer David Carroll to CEO K.P. Yohannan surfaced which presents a different picture. Here is the email.
Sir, I need to share with you where I am over this situation. I will try to summarize for brevity sake. We have a saying in our country: The numbers don’t lie. The published FC-6 reports show westerners that we have either sent money to the field raised for National Ministries and Bridge of Hope to fund the hospital and the corpus fund, or our FC-6 filings are filed wrong. Either way, this is a huge problem. It appears to those reading these that we might have been dishonest to the donors (fraud), or been dishonest to the Indian government, (a PR nightmare at least). Sister Siny’s report below will, in my opinion, do little to satisfy those who are printing out and analyzing our FC-6 reports. I am sorry for not expressing more confidence than this. I think we may have used money raised for National Ministries and Bridge of Hope for the hospital.
I think that India feels that we raise money and send it. I think that India feels that we raised money and sent it to them and they can legally use it any way they deem fit. I hope that I am wrong, but I am doubtful. I also don’t think that it is an intentional wrong, but if I am correct, it is a huge wrong. We’ve spoken at hundreds of churches with tears asking for the National Ministries and Bridge of Hope support, and the FC-6 that is public says that we sent much of that money for the hospital and the reserve corpus funds.”
“It doesn’t matter that we have now moved the money out of the corpus fund because according to the public FC-6 reports, we have been building them up for years. Moving the money only serves to confirm the feelings of guilt to outsiders.”
“I think the only way for us to handle the inquiries raised by Bruce and others is to refer them to our Indian office. Mr. Throckmorton (unless a miracle happens) will get this information and may even begin an investigation of us. We can say all we want that we don’t have anything to do with the Believers Church or the field and that you are only the
spiritual head of the church and that finances are handled by others but you, but as a practical matter, that will not hold up. Can the field find a way out of this situation? I too am very nervous. I have always believed in total accountability of the field, yet the FC-6 reports provide numbers that, as a former auditor, I cannot just explain away with a simple explanation. I, and the world, will need numerical proof now, and I do not have the ability to get it from the USA end. Only the field can explain it, and I am in the hot seat in this crisis and I feel a lot of pressure.
If I say, well, it is not my problem, it’s a field problem, it’s as good as saying we are guilty of misappropriation, If I say “The FC-6 reports are filed inaccurately on purpose, due to the hostile environments we work in, it gets the field in trouble and turns the attention to them. I get the feeling that, although we are not financially dishonest, we are financially reckless — the stockpiling of money in the RBC [Royal Bank of India] account
and then the hurried transferring of it to the field, the Hong Kong account, et cetera. Sir, may I please have my name taken off of the RBC account as soon as possible?”
There is much in this email which is inside baseball. One would need to follow this story closely to understand all of what Carroll is worried about. But note this: He is worried. He is worried because GFA was caught in misrepresentations and feared that Bruce Morrison from Canada and/or I would investigate the matter further to expose it all. And we did.
For the purpose of this post, I want to highlight one misrepresentation. K.P. Yohannan told people that he had nothing to do with finances in India, that he didn’t control anything financially there. However, here is what David Carroll said about that.
We can say all we want that we don’t have anything to do with the Believers Church or the field and that you are only the spiritual head of the church and that finances are handled by others but you, but as a practical matter, that will not hold up.
Yohannan told the the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and his staff the story that he had no power over finances in India. However, in this email, David Carroll acknowledged that Yohannan’s story would “not hold up.” Click this link to hear the audio of the staff meeting in 2014 when he and Carroll told the staff about a $20-million gift from India which was used to complete the GFA headquarters in Wills Point, TX. The transcript can be read here.
Carroll could see there was a problem with donor funds going into a corpus fund (a kind of rainy day fund) and being spent on a medical center and other projects instead of on what donors intended. Yet, GFA was officially denying all of this. Eventually, the ECFA removed GFA from membership when these discrepancies could not be cleared up.
GFA still hasn’t admitted publicly that anything was ever wrong. They haven’t been readmitted to ECFA membership. They were sanctioned by a federal judge for delaying discovery during their fraud trial. There isn’t an indication that anything has changed. For all we know, reality is still much different from what they are presenting.
One aspect of the fraud case settlement which might serve to bring GFA into the light is the addition of two new board members to GFA’s board. Plaintiff Garland Murphy and an unnamed person will be added. Provided GFA honors the intent of the settlement, there may be some light at the end of this tunnel. For now, the public would do well to discern reality from image.
20 thoughts on “Compare Gospel for Asia’s Image with Reality”
I am very late reading this post. I have a couple of questions. How can one be the spiritual head of a church or religious organization and yet have nothing to do with its finances and nothing to say about its finances? I don’t think that’s how Jesus ran his ministry, and he definitely ran things on a much tighter budget.
Also, if GFA said they have no control over what happens in the field, aren’t they basically admitting they are fraudsters? KP defended himself saying he had no control over what happened in the field. But, he was raising funds by stating the funds would be directed in very specific ways.
Last question, I looked up David Carroll online probably more than a year ago. He has open a CPA practice near the GFA headquarters in Texas. I’m really puzzled as to there has not been some concern or an inquiry by the Texas Board of Accountancy into what role David Carroll might have played in this whole debacle.
Don’t know about you, but from that pic up top the Image is “Tridentine Latin Mass with Hoodies”.
As in the type of Uber-Trad Uber-Catholic who denounces every pope since Pius XII as Antipope and elects themselves The One True Pope.
(According to Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for Dummies — good read — there are at least five self-elected One True Popes in play, each denouncing all the others as well as the guy in Rome. Bad craziness.)
Every time I see this pantomime, I say to myself: “Quick – the antedote!”
Ah! That’s better …
Fixed, and also, wtf miracle were they expecting to keep Dr. Throckmorton from acquiring this information? Struck by lightning? The plagues of Egypt? Rapture?
By the way, when I called you a hero on your 14th blogiversary, the fact that you were one of only two names these guys feared to hold them accountable in the entire world bolsters my claim. I mean, even the Avengers have a dozen.
There are many unnamed sources to thank, but since they want to be unnamed, I can’t name them, but thanks.
Sounds like K.P. attended Trump University and learned his CEO style from Trump himself.
It’s amazing that this billion dollar operation hoped for miracles to keep one Psychology professor and McDonalds blogger in PA from finding out about its operations. Well done, Dr. T!
Any chance that GFA may have been a deciding factor in the Patheos boot?
The more I have considered it, the more I think GFA might have been the factor. GFA has no bottom when it comes to money and if they offered advertising dollars to get on the platform, then for sure that was it. There is no way to know the arrangement. It is possible that GFA is paying for that space.
I think that’s exactly right. On the GFA Diaspora website, this is what’s under your name:
This guy is certainly The King Pin at the top of the garbage heap. He has perhaps swindled westerners of as much as a billion dollars and only has to return $109 million of that so far. He makes Ken Copeland look like a two-bit clown act. Ken only has a jet or two. Yohannan has his very own FIFA team! This just reeks of the ultimate arrogant narcissism. This guys white-washed septic tank has enough scum inside of it to fill the FIFA football stadium his team plays in. I keep warning his insiders to get out before its too late. You have perhaps a year or so before everything he has touched starts receiving the whirlwind. I know that India is becoming a more dangerous and violent place. God is very capable of sending all of that your direction just as he set King Nebuchadnezzar’s sight on what was left of Israel. Just because you think that you are God’s people will not save you any more than it saved them. I have seen that the fear of the Lord will soon be returning in a powerful way on this earth. That means that judgment is ready to knock on all that claims to be Christian. Things will likely start happening before the next year is done that are obvious “acts of God” against those who abuse the Son of God in order to turn the worship of men towards themselves just as Satan, their father, have done before they were born. Jesus said that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God” and so it shall shortly be!
Persecution appears to be increasing in India. While this is certainly a bad thing, it tends to have a purifying effect as many of the fakes and frauds jump ship and the weak and cowardly are forced to decide what’s really important. And God may use it to bring judgement on those who take His name in vain, calling themselves Christian but using His name for financial gain.
BTW, on the FIFA team, to be fair, last I checked, they didn’t have their own stadium, and while it’s a legit professional team bringing in professional players (including foreign players, limited in number by league rules), it seems to be a bit of a low-budget affair. I suspect Ken Copeland’s jets likely cost more. KP’s big splurge is not the FIFA team, it’s the profit-generating businesses – hospitals, rubber plantations, schools, etc.
I was thinking more in terms of ego and bravado. A plane has its practical uses. No ministry needs a FIFA football team. And I did not say that he built or owns the stadium, just that his team plays in one. And schools and hospitals that stick your giant photo at the entrance with plaques that say the same kind of aggrandizing things as this post talks about, well there is nothing Christian about lifting yourself up to have all the little sheep worship at your altar. All this made possible by idiot donors like myself. Nothing quite like thinking that you are giving money to God when in reality you have been giving it to neo-Pharisees who are actually, according to Jesus, sons of the Devil.
The hospitals, etc., are actually more deceptive than Ken Copeland’s jets, since, while a plane does have practical uses, he could simply fly commercial 99% of the time. You actually have to dig to figure out that these hospitals are not charitable enterprises.
He’s going to expose the false church until His people all leave it and are safe.
Yeah, sure. That photo just oozes humility, doesn’t it? Clearly, every dime donors send them is being spent on helping the poor and needy. /s
As I said below, Tridentine Latin Mass with Hoodies.
it would appear that K. P. has found in GFA a “cash cow” that has brought him and his family and friends financial security and a lavish lifestyle.
And cows are sacred in India, are they not ?
Honestly, these people and their organization are most likely not that different from many, many other mega-churches and christian organizations. Justifying their lifestyles in their minds.
My apathy only takes comfort in knowing that someday they will answer before a just and mighty God for how they lived.
You said the Sekrit Woid.
In the words of the prophet Steve Taylor:
“…Gospel for Asia is celebrating 40 years in business.”
That’s all you need to know. It’s a business, and it’s Patheos website is nothing but a glossy pamphlet produced for PR purposes.
I thought that was perfectly phrased as well.
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